it’s zoo season!!!

Thanks to the beautiful weather, we have been able to go the zoo three times in 9 days! It is so much fun! We bought a family circle annual pass, which means that we can take two people with us every time we go for free (please let us know if you’d like to join us one day! We love going with other people).

Ali loves the zoo – she really loves animals all together. She “barks” at almost every animal she sees. She says “woof, woof”. She has started making other animal noises also when prompted (“What does the snake say?” “sssss”, etc.), but she seems to think that all animals understand “woof, woof”. Chris made an interesting point that to her, she is communicating just as effectively with animals as she does with us. We talk a lot, and she doesn’t understand it all, but she knows that we are talking to her, and she talks back. She’s doing the same thing with the animals.
She is typically not scared of any animals – the biggest dog can charge us, barking, and she just looks at him and says “woof”. But one of the animals got to her on Sunday – the Llama. He was quite aggressive – he was eating the child’s shirt that was visiting with him before us. When we got over to him, he very quickly got right in Ali’s face and tried to lick her. I think that she sensed me jumping backwards also, and the two together kind of spooked her. She wasn’t so afraid that she was crying, because she kept trying to pet him – she would reach out her hand, then jerk it back with a whimper at the last minute. Now, to be fair, I wasn’t thrilled with the Llama’s manners myself. He got a big chunk of my hair in his mouth, and I couldn’t get it out for a minute or so! I kept tugging, and it wasn’t coming. I only had one hand, and Chris was too busy taking pictures and being amused to help me. ;)
Today, we went to the zoo with Ashley and AJ – AJ is Ali’s best friend. They recognize each other and call each other by their names (“aajhae” and “aya”). They are SO cute together! They love to share food, to hold hands, and to point at each other. I think both of their favorite animal today were the zebras (“zeeee”, as AJ said). They both pointed at them lots and said “ooooo”.
On a side note, they have camels at the zoo this year that you can ride for $5!! I can’t wait to try this. Several people can ride one at once!!
This weekend we will be heading down to the beach to stay with Kitty and Leo. I’m sure we will take Ali to the Gulf Shores Zoo, which is awesome because you can feed almost all of the animals! Ali fed some of them last year, and loved it!
Here are some pictures from our recent Birmingham Zoo trips and other happenings of the last 2 days:
Here are Ali and AJ – not at the zoo, but yesterday at Church. Aren’t they cute in their matching polka dots? I had a couple of people think they were twins when I was taking them up to the nursery. . . they do favor each other!

The carousel at the zoo!

Me and Ali checking out the sheep. She really liked reaching through and petting him!
Me and Ali shying away from the hungry Llama.

Checking out the baby goat. . .
Hmm. . . Chris’ artsy photography. . .titled “Three Butts”
Trying to get a family photo on the train..(our wierd family eye color thing is especially apparent in this picture – Ali got her grandparent’s eyes.)
Chris and Ali reading “The Monster at the End of This Book”
Ali totally shocked at the ending!!!
Ali loves laying her head on soft things. . .for all of two seconds at a time!

the annual soup tragedy

Well, this year, the soup was just fine, but my Mom called me Sunday morning, and she had been up all night with a stomach virus, so she couldn’t come to her birthday lunch. Dad and Nick still wanted to come, but I quickly disinvited them (I know, cold, right? But can you imagine a 14 month old baby with a stomach virus? Not good!!!). Then, we get to church, and Lindsay (my sister-in-law), tells me that my older brother, JC got her sinus crud, and they wouldn’t be coming either!! Then, my Grandmother calls me, and when she finds out that everyone else cancelled, she cancelled too. Luckily, I had invited my friend Amanda also, and she, good friend that she is, didn’t cancel. :) So our dinner for 9 went down to dinner for 3 – me, Chris, and Amanda. With that Ginormous pot of soup. Now granted, I did send over half the pot home with Nick (who still came to church) for my Mom. So at least, when she starts to feel better, she will get Birthday Soup.

soup tragedy

I am in the middle of making a GINORMOUS pot of homemade vegetable soup for my Mom’s birthday lunch tomorrow (three weeks late, but hey – better late than never). This has become a traditional meal for her birthday, because she always makes everyone’s favorite meal for their birthday, and her favorite meal is vegetable soup, which she hardly ever makes because she’s always trying to make things that everyone else really likes. Anyway, making soup today brings back vivid memories of last year.
Ali was just barely one month old, and so I was going to attempt to make my first whole family meal. We were still very much in the “baby cave” – I know that all of you recent parents out there can remember all too well how draining it is to have a one month old.
Anyway, I had two huge pots of soup that had been cooking for hours (this year I traded in the two huge pots for one ginormous pot), and I was working on my White Chocolate Cheesecake dessert. I had just made and baked the crust for the cheesecake and left it on the stove to cool while I mixed up the filling. I had my back to the stove, and all of a sudden there was a HUGE explosion. I had no idea what it was. I turned around, and the Pyrex baking dish with the crust in it had exploded. I mean, into a million pieces that were projected all over the kitchen. Now let me say first that it was SUCH a blessing that Ali and Chris weren’t in the room, and that I was on the other side of the kitchen from the stove. But besides that, it was as bad as it could get.
The explosion was my fault – I didn’t realize it, but I had turned on the wrong eye of the stove, so the eye that I set the dish on was on low, which resulted in said explosion. I didn’t have lids on my two huge pots of soup, so after I gathered myself as much as I could (ok – I was still panicking), I started searching around in my soup. The first thing I pull out is a huge glass shard. So now I’m in full panic mode. Here’s this soup with all these ingredients that I have been working on for at least 3 hours, and its 9pm at night and I am in total denial that I’m going to have to start all over. I break down in tears, and my AMAZING husband takes over the situation. He goes into the kitchen and cleans up all of the glass while I try to sort out in my head what happens next. I am trying to convince him that surely the glass is just on the top of the soup and not all the way down. Wisely, he doesn’t argue with me, but just stays silent, and lets me come to the conclusion for myself that there is no way that the soup is salvageable. Meanwhile, Ali is screaming in her pack and play.
So I gather myself, and Chris told me that he would handle the cleanup and the baby if I wanted to go to the store to re-buy my ingredients (and a new Pyrex dish). Being the accountant that I am, I cannot stomach the possibility that I just wasted all of that family money, and insist on paying for the new ingredients out of my spending money. Chris tried to convince me that it was ok, to use the family money, but I was still in panic mode, trying to figure out every way that I can possibly right my wrong. While I was at the store, Chris dumped both of the huge pots of (now glass-ridden) soup off of our back deck into the woods. So there may have been a lot of squirrels and other woodland creatures that had to go to the ER with cuts in their stomach that night. :( Oops. I hope PETA doesn’t ever read this blog.
So when I got home, we exhaustingly got Ali to bed, and then I began all over again. Being that she was of course still waking up two or three times every night, the next day was pretty rough.
But, as tragic as it was at the time, I will never forget that explosion. And really, it is kind of humorous to look back on it now. I will also never let my MOM forget how much I loved her that day to make FOUR huge pots of soup and TWO cheesecakes for her. :)
Luckily, tonight’s soup seems to be going much easier, and since Ali let us sleep VERY late this morning, I have all the energy in the world. If only I could go back to 2007 Rachel and let her borrow some.

The Park and Recent Photos of Ali

This morning, Ali did one of those things that I wasn’t sure was coincidental, or if she actually understood what I was saying. I went to get her up (when she woke up at 10 am!!!! She apparently woke up around 8, but never said anything to let us know she was up, and put herself back to sleep for her morning nap around 8:30), and I said “Guess who’s downstairs??? It’s Saturday!!” and she got this huge smile and said “Daddy!!!!!” in her most excited voice. Wow!!

We took Ali to the Trussville park today. It is such a great park! They have five different areas of playground equipment for different ages of children. And the ground is covered with this rubber stuff that is just great – because its really clean enough to let Ali crawl around on if she wants to (sure, she gets a little dirty, but she’s not covered in mud or pine straw). Ali really likes swinging and sliding down the slides (although sometimes she can be a little apprehensive about the slides, and others she absolutely loves it). She also likes the springy bouncy animals to ride on.
Here’s a picture of her swinging (swings are the only thing that consistently get her to laugh):

Here’s a picture of her pushing her walking toy at the park that JC and Lindsay got her for Christmas:
Since this is my first post of pictures of Ali, here are some more very recent photos:
She loves to get up on all fours and look through her legs:

We got her some bunny ears for Easter. She actually likes wearing them!

Her hair is getting so curly – especially on humid days.

Almost every afternoon, we go to the window and watch for Daddy to come home. She gets so excited!!!

Here she is posing. She loves being photographed!

She’s in a sharing stage. Here, she’s sharing Mickey Mouse with Oreo.

Oreo is truly thrilled with the gift.

i can’t believe i actually did it.

(if you haven’t read my last blog before this one, this one won’t make any sense)
ok . . . so for those of you who know me, you know that I am a VERY paranoid person when it comes to what other people think of me. I am a people pleaser to the max. I can’t stand to make people mad at me, and obsess over it if I think that people just might could be possibly the teeniest bit upset by something I said. I even have this horrible habit of when I am driving home from a function, replaying everything I said in my mind to think of anything that I might have said that someone might have taken wrong. With that said, I actually emailed Jeff Dennis and cc:ed Ronnie Bruce (WDJC) and told him that I had blogged about him, and copied and pasted my blog. Wow. I thought about just emailing him my opinion and not telling him that I had blogged it, but I thought, “no, I’ll be honest about what I did too. It may not have been the nicest thing to do, but I’ll admit to it.”
Well, within an hour, I had a response from him. I am posting it below:


First I would like to have had the opportunity to explain before it was blogged but I will give it a shot anyway. I do appreciate you contacting me and I am sorry that the spot offended you.

The commercial that you spoke of regarding the men just running in was not intended that way. I have attached the spot, titled “Grocery Bag” for you to listen
to, but it was a spot that ran for Valentines Day and about how easy our store
was to access as opposed to going to the mall. Believe it or not, most men, when
shopping for Valentines, Christmas, or for many other occasions do come in, make
their selection and leave within 5 minutes. It doesn’t mean that they haven’t
spent hours researching or looking for something but Men typically don’t go into
a store or a mall to shop, they go in to buy and most do it VERY quickly.

As for the spot that referenced hunting, I have attached the mp3 (Your Time) of the spot also. While the spot is purely intended to be humorous, and I have gotten several positive comments about it from men and ladies, I can understand how some may find it offensive. My spots are written by me and anyone who knows me and has shopped with me knows that the intent of the commercials are not as you have described them. The last thing that I want to put across to the listeners is the mood or attitude that you described. I will ask WDJC to remove that particular spot.

I would also ask you to listen to the spot “She Does” or “Best Wife” These also ran during Valentines. Not one person has mentioned these spots to me, either positively or negatively. I wish before you blogged about it and I was lumped into having
“marriage destroying messages” and a “blantant attack against a Godly view of
Marriage” that you would have called me, Ronnie Bruce, or any other member of
the WDJC staff to talk about my beliefs, my views, or my intent. For
clarification, I will state that I have been married to my wife of 10 years, we
have 2 wonderful children, I am a born again man with lots of faults
but a wonderful savior! Over the course of my daily business, I have referred
countless individuals who have come into my store to marriage counselors and
right now on the top of my showcases are Birmingham Christian magazines, James
Dobsons book Marriage Under Fire, and Love Must be Tough, and even a book titled
Before the Ring. I am a very active member of Gardendale First Baptist Church
and while I appreciate you bringing your interpretation of the spot to my
attention, I strongly disagree with the assumptions that were made in your

Again, I would like to thank you for bringing the this to my attention and as I write the spots in the future, I will try to be more careful that my attempt at humor is not conflicted with other messages. If any of my future spots hit a chord with you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Here is my response to Jeff’s email:

You are very correct – I did not approach this in the right order. Biblically, according to Matthew 18, I should have come to you about it before blogging about it. If it is ok with you, I would like to post your response and an apology for my rash post. Just for your peace of mind, I am a new blogger, and I have very few readers. But I would really like to post your response as rebuttal to my rashness. :)

I understand what you are saying about the attempt to be humorous – I am just very sensitive to this, and marriage jokes are really a hot spot for me. I feel that the secular media’s biggest strategy in making things “acceptable” or “the norms” is to introduce them in a humorous, or even making-fun-of light, so that we all get used to the ideas, and then slowly accept them. The best example to me is the TV show Will and Grace – they made fun of the homosexual lifestyle and played up all of the stereotypes to help us all accept it as normal. I feel like many sitcoms do this with marriage as well – portraying the husband as a stupid oaf and the wife as the intelligent one who makes all of the decisions, such as Everybody Loves Raymond or King of Queens. Because I have realized over the past couple of years how these type of things affect the way I subconsciously perceive life, I am now hyper-sensitive to things like this, which is why I immediately was shocked by your commercial. I do apologize for blogging first and writing later, and I also apologize if I was rather blunt in my descriptives. I am actually feeling quite humbled and embarrassed of myself right now, because I am typically a VERY people-pleasing, sensitive of others’ feelings and what others are thinking of me – type person. So this was very out of character, and because of that, I’m feeling a bit shocked at myself. But I do stand behind my views of the “Your Time” commercial.

Your other two commercials were great. I especially like how complimentary you were of your wife in the one about her. :)

On the grocery bag one, I do see how it is meant to be humorous to other guys, but I still feel like in a way, it fosters that negative stereotype of men, focusing on how they don’t have time to do anything for their wife because of all their hunting and fishing and football, but now that I have listened to it again with your explanation, it is more humorous (on the guys side) than negatively stereotypical.

I guess it’s a little weird that all of my passion on this subject is really defending men and the perception of husbands, but I think that is because when I was engaged to be married 8 years ago, I had so many people (even at my Christian company) who told me how bad marriage was, and to just give it some time and I’d be miserable. On the contrary, my marriage has been a dream, and my husband absolutely amazing. He still dotes on me as much, actually MORE, than he did when we were dating. So I hate to see him, or other Christian husbands, portrayed in a negatively stereotypical way. It just doesn’t do them justice.

I really appreciate you listening to my input, and I am very impressed that you were willing to pull that commercial because of it. That takes a lot of integrity and intent to come across in a way that doesn’t offend. I really do see that it wasn’t your intention AT ALL to come across that way, and I will make sure that everyone that has read what I wrote knows that. It was unintentional on your part, and I don’t want anyone to judge you or your business by that commercial.


does worldiness leak into everything these days???

I was listening to WDJC today (we haven’t gotten XM hooked up in my new car yet, so I’m stuck listening to commercials with my Christian Music), and I heard the most disturbing commercial. I’ve heard some commercials that made me go “hmm” before on there, but this one took the cake.
It was for Jeff Dennis Jewelers, and (presumably Jeff Dennis) is talking about how husbands spend all their money and time on themselves and hunting, and NEVER think of us wives. One quote was “He’s always saying there’s no money to buy that diamond you’ve been wanting. Of course not! It’s in the gun case and in the hidden pockets in his wallet!” Can we say “let’s breed resentment, bitterness, and discontent??!?!?!” Then later in the commercial, it says “Remember the phrase, ‘if you really want something, you’ll do ANYTHING to get it?’ well remind your husband of that next hunting season!” implying – don’t “let” your husband go hunting unless he buys you that diamond first!! A week or so earlier I heard another Jeff Dennis commercial that disturbed me a little (it was talking about how husbands don’t have the time or the inclination to be thoughtful for their wives, so Jeff Dennis will do all the work for them, and all the husbands have to do is run in and pick it up and run out), but then this new one just completely blew me away.
Secular media is chock full of subliminal messages (usually a lot more subtle than that commercial) that breed all kinds of marriage-destroying messages, such as that men are stupid and women really are the smart ones and run the households, and that men can’t do anything right, and on and on. There are many TV shows that I really like that I don’t allow myself to watch anymore for this very reason – because whether I want it to or not, it definitely affects my perspective. You would think you were safe listening to Christian Radio, and they like to promote it as “radio for the whole family”, but to be bombarded by these kind of ridiculous commercials really is upsetting.
I’ve never sent food back at a restaurant or complained about it, nor have I ever really been into the boycott thing or the writing letters complaining to companies. But for once, I am really considering it. It’s just such a blatant attack against a Godly view of marriage, of men, and of life!
Please let me know if you think I’m overreacting or if you agree that this is disturbing – I’d really like to know!
Although I hate this commercial and its implications, it does make me grateful that my husband isn’t like that at all (he thinks about my wants MUCH more than he thinks about his own), nor is our marriage full of manipulation and bitterness. I will continue to pray that by God’s grace it can stay that way!!

my first blog!

Hello to all of my hundreds of readers!! ;)
I’ve recently gotten interested in reading other people’s blogs (Thanks to the encouragement from Crystal), and I have found it very fun and interesting! I especially have enjoyed reading blogs of people that I have fallen out of touch with – catching up on them. I guess I’m that creepy person that you don’t realize is reading your blog but is.
Anyway, so I was inspired to start my own blog.
It will probably be boring to most – it’s not like I have the most interesting life, but I figured it would be fun to do, if nothing else for my own sake to chronicle our lives.
I really am very new to the blogging community, so if you would, please leave any comments you have about the protocol of the blog world and anything else that you think I need to know. It would be most appreciated!!

I suppose on this first blog I will explain my title. I am a very black and white, goal oriented, objective person. I love accomplishing things, and especially love setting myself goals and then not only meeting them, but surpassing them. I get so much pleasure out of that! However, in my new life as a stay at home mom, it has definitely been an adjustment, to say the least, to living a subjective life (I mean, how much more objective can you get than to be an accounting manager? And before that was school, which is super objective). I do still work part time from home (while Ali naps), which definitely helps satiate my need for objective accomplishments. And thanks to the advice from my dear friend Lydia, I have started myself a spreadsheet of subjective things that I want to do so that I can still check boxes :) I know – I am really, really odd. But hey – if checking checkboxes makes you enjoy life more, why not? So, feel free to make fun of me. I understand – my family does it all the time. Somehow, it seems that I got ALL of the objective genes in my family, so my parents and siblings think I’m from outer space.

Now – as far as an overview of who I am. I am a wonderfully blessed and happy wife to Chris of 7 years and mother to Ali of 13 months. As I mentioned, I stay at home, but I also work in accounting and human resources from home for the company I have worked for since I was 16 (almost 10 years!!!). I love my Savior Jesus Christ more than anything else in my life, and love spending time studying His Word and allowing Him to teach me how to successfully live this life (objectively or subjectively!!). I have a WONDERFUL family and great friends. I have learned a LOT in the past 13 months of being a mother, and continue to learn more daily, which I am sure I will share with you in the coming posts.

I hope that this blog allows me to reconnect with old friends and aquaintances, and will also allow people to keep up with what is going on in our lives.

Well, it’s time to go put Ali down for her afternoon nap, so I will go ahead and end this. I hope to hear from all of you, my hundreds of readers!